This was originally published as part of a game roundup on 28 February 2011.
Of all the games on this list, Dead Rising 2 is the game which ate the most of my free time and the only one which will get a full review. The first Dead Rising game was what caused me to purchase a 360, so I was somewhat excited about the sequel. Nevertheless, I held back because of my giant backlog. Instead, I ended up getting Case Zero (the prequel, stand alone DLC). After playing through it two or three times, I immediately went out and purchased the full game.
For those unaware, Dead Rising is a zombie game. In the predecessor, zombies broke out in a small town in the Midwest. Since then, there have been other zombie outbreaks around the US, but things have mostly been contained. Knowledge of zombies is now widespread. The player character, Chuck Greene, lost his wife to a zombie outbreak a few years before the start of the game. His daughter was also bitten, but hasn’t yet turned due to daily injections of an antidote called Zombrex which keeps her from turning, but only at one day per dose. In order to afford the extremely expensive medication, Chuck competes on a pay-per-view event called “Terror Is Reality” in which zombies are dismembered in various ways to entertain the masses.
After one taping of TIR, the zombies used for the event are released and overrun the city of Fortune City (a lawyer-friendly clone of Las Vegas). For reasons that he doesn’t understand, Chuck is framed for the release of the zombies and must attempt to clear his name, save himself and his daughter from the outbreak, and get enough Zombrex to keep his daughter from turning.
The game plays very much like its predecessor: large open areas to explore, tons of zombies, dozens of ways to kill them. The game has managed to improved in several important ways: Firstly, the game finally allows you to have multiple save games. Moreover, it is completely possible to beat the game in your first play through–something essentially impossible in the first game. Also, survivor AI has improved markedly which makes saving said survivors far easier.
Perhaps the best change in this iteration is that the vast majority of the world is open to you at the beginning of the game. In the former, you had to work slowly to open it piece by piece through story progression and every new game required you to do most of the unlocking from scratch. This time, only a few areas remain unlocked, and those mostly open up quickly.
Overall, I probably played at least 8 passes through the entire game which is somewhat remarkable for me, as is paying full price at a big-box store for it.
Dead Rising 2: 1!